Green Acres is a property tax deferral program available to agricultural property owners that are being affected by increasing property values due to non-agricultural influences. Upon application, a property owner may qualify to have some of the taxes based on the increased market value deferred until the property is sold, transferred, subdivided, or no longer qualifies for the program. A property must be classified as agricultural in order to qualify for this program. In order for a property to be classified as agricultural it must have a minimum of 10 acres of tillable land or have an intensive agricultural use (feedlot, greenhouse, dairy operation, etc.)
The Green Acres program was significantly modified by the 2008 omnibus tax bill that was passed in the spring of 2008. This legislation affected both existing green acre property owners, as well as new applicants that applied after May 1, 2008. The 2009 legislative session modified some of the changes made in the 2008 session. The major impacts of the legislative changes had to do with the payback provisions and with what types of land qualifies for green acres. Only land classified by the assessor as 2a productive land (tillable, fenced pasture, mowed hay) will qualify for Green Acres. Land that is classified by the assessor as 2b rural vacant land (woods, waste, open pasture, sloughs) will no longer be eligible to be enrolled in Green Acres, but may be enrolled in a similar program called Rural Preserve.
To qualify for Green Acres, one of the following MUST apply:
- The property is the homestead of the owner, or the owner's surviving spouse, child, or sibling, or is farmed in conjunction with the homestead property.
- The property has been in possession of the applicant, the applicant's spouse , parent, or sibling (or any combination) for a period of at least seven years prior to application.
- The property is being farmed in conjunction with property within four townships or cities (or an combination) from property that has been in possession of the owner, the owner's spouse, parent, or sibling (or any combination) for a period of at least seven years prior to application.
- The property is in possession of a nursery, greenhouse, or an entity owned by a proprietor, partnership, or corporation which also owns the nursery or greenhouse operations on the parcel or parcels.
New Applicants (Applied After May 1, 2008):
For applications received after May 1, 2008, the following will also apply:
- Only productive land (tillable, fenced pasture, mowed hay) will qualify for green acres;
*Woods, waste, open pasture, sloughs, and other non-productive land will be valued at its full market value;